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What is an Operating System

Without an operating system, a computer is completely useless. The operating system is the main software component on any computer of any kind, whether it is a full-scale desktop PC, a laptop computer or even a mobile phone. The operating system is the software which all other programs run on top of. The operating system allocates system memory and other resources to running programs as well as serving as a user interface which you can navigate to manage your programs and files.

Microsoft has long dominated the world of operating systems for computers; although this is only true of PCs. Macintosh computers typically run Apple's own Mac OS. Other operating systems for PC include Linux and its many variations as well as a few other, lesser-known operating systems.

Windows is the predominant operating system on the world's PCs and few people will consider running anything different, mostly due to compatibility and familiarity concerns. Microsoft introduces new versions of Windows every few years. The first version of Windows was released in 1985, but it really only became popular in 1992 with the release of Windows 3.1. Windows 95 introduced many new changes and it was eventually superseded by Windows 98 followed by Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and then Windows 7. Windows 8 is to be the eighth major new release of Windows, due to be released in late 2012.

For the most part, it's not hard to choose an operating system. The vast majority of PC users will want to go for the current version of Windows, although there are various editions designed for business, home or enthusiast use. These editions provide varying sets of features to suit different types of users. Generally, home users will want to go for the Home Premium edition of Windows, while businesses will want to go for the Professional edition and enthusiasts who want to enjoy all of the features of Windows will want the Ultimate edition.

There are also various free operating systems. Most of these are based on the Linux operating system. Ubuntu is one of the most popular, although there are many others.


Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. Speed improvements vary based on your system configuration. ErrorTeck is not endorsed or affiliated with either Microsoft or the third party applications it supports.